Is It Too Late for Spiritual Renewal?
By Alexander Samuels
"Spiritual renewal" is a phrase I often use in the place of the word "revival." Revival is something that men make happen with evangelistic campaigns and such. At least, that is how it has come to be defined in our postmodern era. When spiritual renewal takes place in the church, it is a work of the grace and mercy of God through the Holy Spirit. Men and women are filled afresh with the Holy Spirit. Prayer and other disciplines of faith take on more consistency and power. People feel the urge to speak of spiritual things and are deeply concerned that every aspect of their lives be in right relationship to God.
There seems to be very little concern about . . . spiritual renewal in our churches today. The secular philosophies of this world dominate the thought life of our culture. The Christianity that once was is now a pale ghost of the powerful Reformation doctrines that turned the world upside down. We may note that Christianity's teaching of responsibility for your neighbor's welfare is still a powerful driving force by the response of thousands of Christians to the victims of the recent hurricanes. Christian doctrines and convictions, however, seem to have mostly become watered-down casualties of religious correctness. More and more individuals who have adopted Christianity as their pet religion personally do so to feel good about themselves and not because they've known the call of grace or desire to hear God "speak."
How many are there saying with David, "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:4-5)? What has happened to our passion for the Word of God? "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). The truth of God's Word and our worship of His Name no longer stirs up the fire in our hearts. We have become empty shells serving gods of our own making.
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I [Jesus] have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail . . ." (Luke 22:31-32). Here we see spiritual renewal in these words of Jesus to Simon. It is a matter of the grace and mercy of God. It is the shepherd that restores the lost sheep.
The church has fallen thus far and suddenly you realize you are without hope. Then your voice cries out, "Do not cast me from Your Presence . . ." (Psalm 51:11). God's blessing of spiritual renewal washes over the church. His mercy and grace restore the joy of salvation. Our spirits are renewed (Psalm 51:12). We are filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
Is there the least part of yearning for spiritual renewal in your soul? Do you wish to see the fountain of the Holy Spirit flow? It is not too late. Pray for your church and my church and the church invisible. "Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Christ is consistently interceding for the church. It can do no harm to add our prayers to His. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Alexander Samuels is a regular contributor to Carolina Christian Conservative.